NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, April 16th (All times Eastern)
Phoenix Suns (47-34) at Sacramento Kings (28-53), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Jeff Hornacek deserves recognition as Coach of the Year with the Phoenix Suns for their impressive 2013-14 season.
Hornacek and the Suns will not participate in the playoffs and look to end the season on a winning note Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings. The Suns were eliminated from postseason contention with Monday's 97-91 home loss versus the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Suns and Grizzlies battled throughout the game and especially in the fourth quarter, when Memphis recorded a 30-24 advantage. The Suns rallied from a 10-point deficit after the first quarter (24-14) and were led by Markieff Morris's 21 points off the bench.
Goran Dragic and Channing Frye scored 14 points apiece and Eric Bledsoe added 13 for the Suns, who are mired in a three-game losing streak after winning three straight and nine of 11 games. Phoenix shot 48 percent, scored 23 points off 19 turnovers and made only 5-of-26 3-pointers.
"We came up short," said Dragic. "We are headed in the right direction. Overall it was a great and fun year for us."
Phoenix wasn't expected to win this many games, but overcame the odds under the Hornacek regime.
The Suns, who were aiming for their first playoff berth since 2009-10, have a 21-19 record away from home.
Sacramento hopes to close another playoff-less season with consecutive wins with the Suns in town. The Kings haven't been to the postseason since 2005-06 and halted a five-game slide the last time out in Sunday's 106-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
DeMarcus Cousins had 35 points, 15 rebounds and six assists, but also picked up his 16th technical foul. That means Cousins will start his offseason early and is suspended for Wednesday's game. Cousins ended the 2013-14 campaign with eight straight double-doubles, posting 27.9 points and 12.3 boards in that span. He totaled 53 double-doubles, third in the NBA.
Cousins talked about his team following the win.
"We're still a team trying to grow and find ourselves," said Cousins, who passed Vlade Divac for eighth place on the Sacramento-era all-time career list in points.
Ben McLemore added 19 points for the Kings, who welcomed back guard Isaiah Thomas. Thomas posted 14 points in 30 minutes and missed the previous 10 games with a right quad contusion. Rudy Gay was sidelined with a lower back strain and is questionable versus Phoenix.
The Kings are 3-8 in the last 11 games and 17-23 at home this season. They are 2-1 against the Suns this season and unbeaten in the past two meetings at home.
04/16 10:29:15 ET